The first woman to be elected to the Australian Parliament was Edith Cowan. She was elected to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly in 1921. This historic event marked a significant milestone in the fight for women’s rights and equality in Australia.
Edith Cowan was born in 1861 in Western Australia and was raised in a strong feminist household. Her mother was an advocate for women’s rights and her father was a member of the Western Australian Legislative Assembly. Growing up, Edith was exposed to the political world and was deeply passionate about making a difference in the lives of women.
After finishing her education, Edith became heavily involved in community work, particularly in the areas of child welfare and women’s rights. She was a founding member of the Women’s Service Guilds of Western Australia and the Western Australian Women’s Suffrage League, which campaigned for women’s right to vote. She also served as the first female member of the Children’s Protection Society and was appointed as a justice of the peace.
In 1920, Edith decided to run for the Western Australian Legislative Assembly, becoming the first woman to run for political office in the state. She campaigned tirelessly, highlighting the need for equal representation of women in parliament. On the 21st of April, 1921, Edith was elected as the Member for West Perth, making her the first woman to be elected to the Australian Parliament.
During her time in parliament, Edith championed various social reforms, including the rights of women and children, improving education and the welfare of the aged. She was also an advocate for the rights of Indigenous Australians, and the rights of workers. Her tireless efforts to improve the lives of women and children in particular resulted in her being appointed to the role of the first female member of the Royal Commission on Child Welfare in Western Australia.
Edith Cowan’s election to the Western Australian Legislative Assembly was a monumental moment in the history of Australian politics, and her legacy continues to inspire women to this day. It was a significant step towards achieving gender equality in politics and society as a whole, and her contributions to the betterment of women’s rights in Australia will always be remembered.
In conclusion, Edith Cowan was the first woman to be elected to the Australian Parliament on April 21, 1921. She was a trailblazer in the fight for women’s rights and equality in Australia and her contributions to the political and social landscape continue to be remembered and celebrated today.